Richard “Dick” Hyatt, 95 years old, passed away Thursday, October 20, 2022 at Harbor Hospice. He was born on October 14, 1927 to Leon and Ruth Chavanne Hyatt, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Leon and Ruth were charter members of the newly-formed Trinity Baptist Church, where Dick was nurtured, became a Christian, and would go on to serve throughout his life. Dick served at Trinity as Sunday School Teacher, Sunday School Director, Deacon, Deacon Chairman, Trustee, Chairman of Trustees, and short-term missionary. His all-time favorite position was as a Sunday morning Greeter – Dick loved smiling at people!
Dick was a 1944 graduate of Lake Charles High School. He joined the Merchant Marines toward the end of WWII, and learned to love the sea. Dick then worked in sales for Hyatt Specialty Company, traveling all over the United States. He then worked as a commercial fisherman with his lifelong friend, Jimmy Funk.
In 1951, Dick was drafted into the Army, and proudly served in the 10th Ranger Company of the 101st Airborne Division, in the Korean War. Dick was later instrumental in maintaining the relationships with his fellow Rangers by organizing frequent reunions and putting out a newsletter to the group. He continued writing the newsletter for the rest of his life, with the latest letter going out two weeks before his death.
Following his return from the Korean War, Dick married Laurissa Mae Watts on April 18, 1953 at Trinity Baptist Church. Shortly thereafter, he founded Hyatt Construction Company, building many homes in the Lake Charles area, then going on into commercial general contracting. Dick’s company completed school buildings, church buildings, hospital buildings, office buildings, post offices and industrial buildings throughout South Louisiana, forming life-long friendships with many who worked alongside him.
Ever the entrepreneur, Dick was also a partner in United Enterprises and U-Lock-It, Phase II Construction, Spire One, and Office World. He also served as a director of Lakeside National Bank and was a member of the Greater Lake Charles Rotary Club.
In 1995, Dick accompanied a group from Trinity on a mission trip to Poland. This experience changed the focus of the rest of his life from business to short-term foreign missions. Over the next 25 years, Dick lead over 50 mission trips to China, Kenya, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Colombia. The people of Colombia found a special place in Dick’s heart, and he continued to return there year after year, forming many, many friendships. During these trips, thousands of people received eyeglasses, and many of these found their salvation in Jesus.
Dick Hyatt was a much-loved son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, employer, mentor, minister, counselor, missionary and friend. He loved people, and he loved Jesus. Dick was generous, patient, kind, gentle, and a very attentive listener. His hugs were the best! Dick enjoyed hunting, fishing, traveling, photography, and cooking. He had a particular weakness for gumbo and a Dairy Queen Georgia Mud-Fudge Blizzard.
Those left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Melanie Jo Hyatt of Lake Charles; his sons, Stephen Hyatt (Suzan) of Bartlett, Tennessee and Timothy Hyatt (Lisa) of High Point, North Carolina; grandchildren, Lydia Mayo (Brooks), Abigail Ballard (Chris), Mary Hyatt, Zoë Gough, Ella Gough, Aidan Gough, Stephanie Lawrie, Jonathan Hyatt and Grandis Hyatt (Jacky).
He was preceded in death by his wife, Laurissa “Rissi” Hyatt; his parents, Leon and Ruth Hyatt; and his brothers, Rev. Leon M. Hyatt, Jr. and Philip E. Hyatt.
The celebration of Dick’s life will be at 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 5, 2022 at Trinity Baptist Church of Lake Charles (North Venue). Visitation will be from 12:00 Noon until the start of the service at 2:00 PM. Cremation was entrusted to Johnson Funeral Home of Lake Charles.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Trinity Baptist Church, Missions.